You can always tell something is wrong when you see the opening title for a TV show and it makes you cringe. Every time Terra Nova shows the silhouettes of the Shannon family walking I just want to stab my eyes out. I should feel totally jazzed whenever I see that opening. It should set the mood for the hour I’m about to spend watching TV. I don’t like that opening. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
Moving on to things other than pet peeves, “The Runaway” demonstrated what I love about Terra Nova and what drives me up the walls. I’m a glass half full kind of guy, so let’s tackle what I loved first.
If Terra Nova had focused on the feud with the Sixers this show would have prospered. There’s more compelling storytelling to be had from this ongoing mystery of who they are and what they want. They strongly remind me of the Others from Lost, but not so much that the comparisons are annoyingly obvious. The use of Leah, a Sixer child who infiltrated Terra Nova, was very well thought out and had me completely fooled. It just went to show that there are plenty of interesting plots that could be crafted using the Sixers. Once their presence grows and we get let in a bit more on what they’re agenda is then Terra Nova can really start being a great show. So long as they fix their biggest issue: the Shannons.
The whole family dynamic is troubling to me. I don’t like that the majority on the main cast are all related. It makes it really hard for them to branch out and have their own stories when they’re forced to sit down and eat dinner together all the time. Having a family of five travel back in time to live with dinosaurs sounds good on paper, but it just fumbles on screen. It’s a fixable problem, all that needs to be done is separate them more purposefully, pairing them up with people who aren’t in the family. Of course, this wouldn’t need fixing if we had a cast filled with people unrelated to each other. How much more interesting would it be if instead of having three siblings we had three adults with wildly varying skills. The show could use those other characters to explore the world better and give the audience a closer look at how things are run at Terra Nova.
I still find myself enjoying Terra Nova despite its often glaring flaws. There’s plenty to like and plenty to hate at this point that viewer response to it could basically go either way depending on personal preference. With it only so-so in the ratings, I’m not exactly thinking it’ll get picked up for a full season, let alone a second one. And to be honest, unless there are huge leaps of improvement, I won’t really miss it. Greater shows than this have been axed before they could find their true potential. Why should Terra Nova get the chance?